Wrap-Up: February 2013

February was a hell of a month. In a good way. I even had to come up with a new category. Whereas there used to be only The Best, The Worst, and The Rest, I read so many fantastic books this month that I needed a way to distinguish between the brilliant and the absolutely-stunning-me-into-loving-the-author-forever ones. So that’s what you get in The Very Best. Both the books in that category were read because of the Worlds Without End Women of Genre Fiction Challenge, where you read 12 books by 12 women authors that you’ve never read before. So far, it has been more than a hit.

Books read: 15
Thereof comics:
5
Pages read: 3837
Series started: Finishing School, Metal Dragons
Series continued: The Codex Alera
Series finished: Aldebaran Cycle 1

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THE VERY BEST:

Margo Lanagan – Tender Morsels 9/10

tender morselsI expected a darkish fairytale retelling and that’s pretty much what I got. But I wasn’t in any way prepared for the depth of that darkness or the layers of the characters. Having read too many superficial retellings (mostly bad YA) my hopes weren’t all too high. I was all the more surprised by the terrifying opening chapter, the beautifully written yet dark prose, and the incorporation of certain scenes and characters from the original fairytale into a completely original story. I feel I should send a warning to those of you who simply won’t read a book that deals with certain issues – there is a lot of rape and violence toward women. It is subtly told, though, and therefore all the more terrifying (because your imagination fills in all the horrible blanks).

Caitlín R. Kiernan – The Drowning Girl  9/10

drowning girlThis was a less expected hit.I had never read Caitlín R. Kiernan and judging by the covers, I wouldn’t ever have picked her books up. But the WoGF challenge kind of nudged her my way (the Nebula nomination helped a litte, too) and I had heard nothing but great things about this book. It was dark, and magical, and deeply strange but Imp’s voice captured me and wouldn’t let go. Even after finishing, she is still spooking around in my head. One might say, she’s haunting me…

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THE BEST:

Leo – Aldebaran (volumes 1-5)  8,5/10

aldebaranThis is what science fiction comic books should be like. A great setting with characters that we care for and a killer plot. I can’t pick which was my favorites. The characters and their relationships were intriguing, the world we discover through plot and pictures is amazing and there is quite a bit of mystery involved. Highly recommended.

Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett – Havemercy 8/10

havemercyVery different from what I expected (no steampunk, nothing very epic), this book managed to hook me nonetheless. It is an intricate character study, set in a fantasy world, it involves a beautiful gay romance and, of course, clockwork dragons – even if they stay on the sidelines.

Barry Hughart – Bridge of Birds 8/10

bridge of birdsAgain, a book that I expected to be something else but that charmed the pants right off me. Hughart puts a humorous spin on the classic Chinese myths and sagas. Following Master Li and Number Ten Ox is a huge pleasure, even if the humorous tone kept me a little distant from the characters.

Jim Butcher – Cursor’s Fury 8/10

Jim Butcher - Cursor's FuryThis series just keeps getting better. Follwing Tavi and his friends around Alera has become a much beloved before-bed-tradition with me. I am already dreading the end of the series (and have bought the entire Dresden Files, just to be safe).

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THE WORST:

Beth Revis – Across the Universe 3/10

across the universeAnother case of bad YA dystopian romance. I am going to take that “dystopian romantic YA” as a sign for bad writing from now on. A lot of good books will probably be left untouched (by me) for that reason, but I just cannot stomach another dumb female character who falls in love witht he first guy she sees and seems to have no other interest. Plus, bad writing. Plus, lame plot. I’m just fed up with it.

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THE REST:

Catherynne M. Valente – Silently and Very Fast 7,5/10

silently and very fastI only rated this novella this “badly” because it took me quite long to get into it. Once I did, I was sucked into Valente’s wonderful, poetic world of ideas and mythology again. Highly recommended but not my favorite Valente.

Gail Carriger – Etiquette & Espionage 7/10

etiquette and espionageAfter very much disliking the direction the Parasol Protectorate went after book 2 (repetitive, unoriginal, rehashing old ideas, etc.), I was happy to see that Gail Carriger came up with a whole new set of characters. Her charming, funny voice is back and it’s like coming home to tea and treacle tart.

Andrea Jones – Hook & Jill 6,5/10

hook and jillA dark, alternate version of Peter Pan, where Wendy desperately wants to grow up and fall in love and Hook slowly seduces her. I loved the sinister, sexual undertones, but I had some trouble with the writing. It was trying very hard to sound poetic and it would have worked if it hadn’t been quite so much. I will read the second part, but not necessarily right now.

Mary Robinette Kowal – Glamour in Glass 6/10

glamour in glassWhen I read book one in the Glamourist Histories series, I felt it was too much like Jane Austen, with the characters basically being copies of Austen’s leading ladies. This problem has been solved in Glamour in Glass, but I really disliked Jane for most of the book. The plot is really, really slow and, honestly, for the most part, I was simply bored. Historical accuracy does not make a gripping story.

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BOOKS I STARTED IN FEBRUARY:

  • China Miéville – Un Lun Dun
  • Martha Wells – Emilie and the Hollow World
  • Meljean Brook – The Iron Duke
  • Saladin Ahmed – Throne of the Crescent Moon

5 thoughts on “Wrap-Up: February 2013

  1. Carl V. Anderson says:

    I had a really nice month to as I looked back on it for my review. Very pleased with everything that I read, especially all the short fiction.

    I will probably end up passing on Tender Morsels despite hearing praise like yours every time it comes up. Just not a big fan of that kind of violence in my entertainment. That said I do feel some compulsion to read The Drowning Girl because of its multiple nominations. We’ll see. Angela Carter is probably more along the lines of where I like my dark fairy tale retellings.

    I had hoped to get to the Hughart book during the Sword and Laser read through but just couldn’t manage it. Was great hearing about it though and I will read it at some point.

    I’m enjoying Glamour in Glass thus far, probably about a third of the way through.

    March should be another great month with interesting books coming out and MANY that I’ve started this past month and will hopefully find time to finish soon.

    Like

    • Nadine says:

      I read the Bridge of Birds with the S&L group even though I rarely join in the discussions over at Goodreads (too unorganised for my taste). It was a lot of fun and quite a quick read.

      The Drowning Girl is a must. Also, I think it is possibly the only book I can think of that is unspoilable. Even if I talked about the ending in detail, it wouldn’t spoil it at all. Literally every page is awesome.

      Like

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